Boston University School of Law

Foreword: The Politics of Health Law: Any Tipping Points in View?
Frances H. Miller

Boston University School of Law Working Paper 07-10


Malcolm Gladwell explored the way ideas and behaviors can proliferate “just like viruses do” once they achieve a critical mass in The Tipping Point, his best-seller about widespread and rapidly-adopted social phenomena he labels epidemics.   Gladwell’s subtitle, “How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” indicates that he does not think it has to take much to get one of these social epidemics rolling.  He does believe, however, that three factors are essential getting “people with a particular and rare set of social gifts” involved, packaging the ideas so they are “irresistible” under the circumstances, and making sure that both the right people and the right presentation can be deployed in the perfect context for change.  That usually means inheriting or creating a situation where one can “tinker with the smallest details of the immediate environment” to unleash the idea’s potential for reaching a tipping point, and thus morphing into an epidemic leading to change. 
          This Foreword analyzes the six articles in this Symposium on The Politics of Health Law in light of Tipping Point Theory, concluding that only the Schiavo controversy, among articles also dealing with palliative care, organ and tissue donation from children, structural change in the health sector, medical tourism and outsourcing, and The Health Care Choice Act of 2005,  seems near to achieving Tipping Point momentum at the present time.


Published in

Frances H. Miller, Foreward: The Politics of Health Law: Any Tipping Points in View?, 29 Western New England Law Review 265 (2007)


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